Irish Examiner view: New beginnings

Israeli coalition
Irish Examiner view: New beginnings

Israel's new prime minister Naftali Bennett shakes hands with Benjamin Netanyahu.

The reign of Benjamin Netanyahu, the dominant figure in Israeli politics for three decades, is finally over. He leaves behind a mixed legacy and a politically polarised and divided nation but also, arguably, a more secure one.

It heralds the beginning for a remarkable coalition and the end for an extraordinary political operator, the man they called ‘the magician’. It is essentially a coalition of former political enemies, who came together with a common desire to oust Mr Netanyahu from power.

It remains to be seen whether the new, fragile unity government will be able to put Israel “back on track” as Mr Netanyahu’s replacement, Naftali Bennett, has promised.

Despite his combative style, Mr Netanyahu was a shrewd leader who reshaped his country and, while viewing the Palestinian conflict almost solely as a security issue, he also managed to sign agreements with four Arab states.

Israel is further away than ever in seeing a solution to the long-standing conflict. Whether Mr Bennett has the will and the capacity to succeed, remains to be seen.

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